CCSO releases information about Oct. 6 Belt school incident

The Cascade County Sheriff’s Office released information on Oct. 11 regarding an incident involving Belt School last week.

Undersheriff Cory Reeves said that at 3:01 p.m. Oct. 6, Belt School received an anonymous call “stating another Sandy Hook would be happening in a few minutes and then hung up.”

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School officials called 911 and placed the school in a shelter in place while deputies responded, Reeves said, and school officials sent an alert to parents and a follow-up CodeRed message went to Belt residents from CCSO.

Reeves told The Electric that students were in the school at the time of the call.

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CCDO deputies were able to identify the caller, who was a female in her 30s living in Ravalli County, Reeves said.

According to CCSO:

  • The woman suffers from a serious brain disorder that causes extreme difficulty with cognitive functionality.
  • In addition to her brain disorder, she suffers from obsessive/compulsive disorder.
  • Due to similar problems (stalking via phone/computer) over the last several years, all forms of communication (phone, computer, tablets) were taken away by her caretakers.
  • Last week, the female was diagnosed with COVID and was placed on quarantine and was allowed to have a tablet for entertainment.
  • Having the tablet gave her access to the news and she had been talking/worrying about school shootings almost non-stop during the quarantine with her caretakers.
  • She voiced that she was concerned for former teachers, specifically a teacher from Belt Public School.
  • Unbeknownst to her caretakers, the tablet also gave her access to telephonic communication using the Text Now system.
  • The current Belt teacher taught the woman 20 years earlier in Ravalli County but had since moved and is currently a teacher in Belt
  • Caretakers told CCSO investigators that when the woman mentioned “Sandy Hook” during this phone conversation with Belt School, it was as a warning due to her worry, rather than a threat.
  • Based on this incident, the caretakers immediately took the tablet away from the female to keep her from contacting anyone further.

“The Belt teacher confirmed she taught the female over 20-years earlier and had been dealing with the now adult female trying to contact her and her kids via Facebook, telephone, etc. for several years,” according to CCSO. “A copy of the police report has been sent to the county attorney’s office for review. We are not immediately pursuing charges or an arrest warrant, given the complexity of the female’s mental condition(s) and she is not local nor is she capable of furthering any act of violence.”